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Residents stage protest at Direct Provision centre in Cork

They are unhappy they did not get to meet Minister David Stanton when he visited the centre yesterday.

RESIDENTS AT A Direct Provision centre in Co Cork staged a protest at the centre today.

Asylum seekers involved in the protest said they were unhappy they did not get to meet Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration David Stanton when he visited Clonakilty Lodge yesterday.

One of the residents, whose name is Evelyn, claimed that people living at the centre were not told in advance that Stanton would be visiting, describing the situation as “unfair”.

“We are actually having a peaceful protest today. The residents of Clonakilty Lodge are out here today with friends from the community on a peaceful protest demanding answers,” Evelyn said.

Source: The Southern Star/YouTube

She told the Southern Star newspaper some parents at the centre kept their children home from school to show how seriously they feel about the matter. 

Residents had concerns they wished to raise with the minister about the centre and the DP system in general. 

Evelyn said people at the centre “have been waiting for the opportunity to meet [Stanton]“, adding: “We want to be respected and treated equally … it is unfair.”

Residents’ concerns 

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice and Equality confirmed that Stanton was at Clonakilty Lodge yesterday, noting that the minister visits DP centres “to get a sense of how the centres are working”.

They said “significant work has been done recently to improve the facilities” at the centre in Clonakilty and Stanton was, among other activities, there to see “the operation of the new onsite shop, which was recently opened as part of the centre’s improvements to provide independent living for all residents”.

The spokesperson added that Stanton “did meet and spoke with residents who were present”.

Others may have been either at work, attending classes or otherwise occupied.

“He also met with a representative of the Friends of the Centre Group. He was not informed that more residents would have liked to have met with him, but would be happy to meet on any future visits.”

The spokesperson added that the Reception and Integration Agency is arranging for a staff member to travel to Clonakilty to “ascertain the residents’ concerns”, noting: “RIA has not been made aware of any specific issues in relation to the accommodation centre.”

In a statement, the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (Masi) said it fully supported the protest and asked people living in the area to show their “solidarity” to residents.

Gardaí said they attended the scene of the protest “strictly so as to prevent any breach of the peace”, adding that no arrests were made.

With reporting by Cónal Thomas

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